I’m happy to share the news that I will be spending some time at the new Jazz Loft opening in Stony Brook, NY. This special venue functions as a museum of collected jazz memorabilia and houses a lovely performance space on the second floor. Curator and jazz trumpeter Tom Manuel has repurposed The Stone Jug, the local watering hole back in the 1940s, to function as a cultural exchange and education center for telling the story of jazz.
I will perform there once a month, just in time to build my latest project, a tribute to the great Nancy Wilson. This time and place provides the perfect opportunity for me to shape this story, living among such cherished photos and scores, using the history to build a new one.
My first two concerts, May 27 and June 10, will feature an incredible trio. I am so blessed to have such extraordinary conspirators and I truly hope there won’t be an empty seat in the house to enjoy this collaboration. I have been working with Andy Ezrin in the New York Voices setting for over 24 years. He is one of my very favorite pianists, his solos often leave the room breathless, and his sensitivity as an accompanist is par excellence. He supports, he inspires and he listens; a great musician to be in the moment with. He and I have been building the Nancy Wilson project over the winter, getting it ready for the next layer of dressing. Enter Matt Wilson and Ben Alison. Matt is one of my very favorite jazz drummers. He is so creative and a spontaneous playmate. Calling on him to “do his thing” is the next step, but equally as fun, when in performance, you can expect him to toss in nuances that shift and change the paradigm. That’s when the real fun begins. And finally, Ben Alison and I have been looking for that gig to join our creative forces on and I think his original thinking sensibilities will keep the framework of this project equal parts traditional and inventive. We’re not trying to preserve so much as spin off of the sparks that Nancy created with her voice, her song choices, her important partnerships with Cannonball Adderly and George Shearing (to name a few) and give us the impetus to take that music out for a new walk about. So join us at one of these concerts to hear this music come together before it’s all buttoned up and ready for pressing. These kinds of gigs are exciting to prepare for and for audience members to attend, you get to be in on the secret.
After hearing the concerts, I will be taking requests from the audience on what other Nancy Wilson song you think we should consider doing. The only way, however, to know which songs we’ve done and which we haven’t is to attend the concert. Aha
But before these concerts can happen, the Jazz Loft must officially open. So join Tom Manuel, the Jazz Loft Big Band and myself for the grand opening on May 21, 2016. There are events going on all day beginning with a parade at 2 PM, music and museum tours from 3-5 PM, and then the headline concerts at 7 and 9:30 PM. Reservations are strongly recommended. Sure hope you can come out and support this cultural center and endeavor. It takes a village to make something like this last beyond the hoopla.